Pina Picierno

Women and their olive trees: an exhibition about coexistence in Strasbourg

(op ed Pina Picierno’s speech, European Parliament Strasbourg, July  5- 2016)

“Art as a tool for dialogue between the different communities of the Israeli society. This is what the exhibition “Women and Their Olive Trees” that I had the pleasure to host in Strasbourg at the European Parliament means to me.

I inaugurated it on July 5 together with the friends of the Mission of Israel to the EU and WIZO. It was a real honour for me to bring the testimony of these thirtyfive  women, the protagonists of this project, representing all communities and religions of Israel to the heart of the European institutions: Jewish, Muslim, ArabChristian, Circassian. Together they worked in the laboratory of WIZO Center in Afula on portraying an olive tree, a symbol of peace and hope, and each artist has given her own interpretation of it, illustrating through heir work their own culture and religion and creating a bridge between the different realities that live in Israel. A true sharing of cultures as extraordinary tool to strengthen our world as well as broadening our borders. This is a project where cultures intertwine and mingle as the colours do in the paintings.

It was very emotional for me to listen and, most importantly to see, their message of peace and tolerance and I will certainly carry this impression with me for a long time. I was able to admire in these touching paintings the lands of the Middle East that I have had the pleasure to see with my own eyes a few years ago, and that I would like to visit again soon enriched by this new experience.

Contrary to what many may think, Israel is also a place of tolerance and sharing: the exhibition wants to demonstrate exactly this through the power of women and their ability to listen and understand. And with this project we wanted also to show to the European institutions that, through a shared passion for a cultural activity, you can develop experiences of sharing and coexistence.

It was a moving experience and I would like to thank both the Mission of Israel to the EU and the friends of WIZO for involving me in this project and giving me the opportunity to accompany this exhibition for a small part of its journey that I hope will continue for a much longer time.”

Pina Picierno

Nava Teitler and Keren Azar (artists) Pina Picierno (MEP), Shuli Davidovich (Minister Deputy Head of Mission of Israel to the EU)